A UK Innovator Founder visa has replaced two UK business visas: a UK Innovator visa and a UK Start-up visa.
This immigration route is designed for overseas entrepreneurs who plan to set up and run their businesses in the United Kingdom.
A UK Innovator Founder visa is ideal for the following applicants:
Your business idea must be innovative. An endorsing body must confirm this as well as the viability and scalability of your business venture.
You can establish a company in the UK either alone or with a business partner. To obtain a UK Innovator Founder visa, you must invest in a new business which means it is not allowed to invest in an existing one.
A UK Innovator Founder visa allows you to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and UK citizenship. Once your business idea is endorsed, all you have to do is establish your business, take an active part in its development in the UK and other markets, ensure its growth, increase profits, and create jobs. It is crucial to follow your initial roadmap and meet the targets you declared in your first application for a UK Innovator Founder visa.
You will be eligible for a UK Innovator Founder visa if:
A UK Innovator Founder visa will give you access to the booming UK market. It is your chance to increase the number of customers worldwide, generate high profits, and contribute to the local economy by creating jobs. An initial visa is issued for three years and can be extended any number of times, and every time you can set up a new company. You can also apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also called settlement, if you have stayed in the country for three years and achieved your targets.
Apart from this impressively wide range of opportunities you will have in the UK as an innovator founder, there are other advantages for the applicant and their family:
All the requirements imposed by the Home Office can be divided into two categories: those concerning an applicant and those concerning their UK business.
The application process for a UK Innovator Founder visa consists of two stages:
Apart from the relevant education and experience in running a business, applicants must fulfil the following criteria:
1. Endorsement letter
Before applying for a UK Innovator Founder visa, you need to have your business idea endorsed by one of the relevant bodies authorised by the UK Home Office to evaluate the ideas of foreign entrepreneurs. There is an updated list of endorsing bodies on the official government website. Note that your endorsement letter must be issued not more than three months before you apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa.
To make the right choice, you must do your research or get the support of experienced immigration advisors. Imperial & Legal can help you choose an endorsing body, draft a business plan for your future company, and get an endorsement letter.
You have a very good chance of getting a UK Innovator Founder visa if your business idea meets the following criteria:
You need to prove to your endorser authorised by the Home Office that you have enough funds to invest in your UKbusiness. Your funds will be evaluated against two criteria:
You do not need to invest anything if:
There are three ways to apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa:
The majority of overseas entrepreneurs apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa online from their home country using a special electronic form. However, to have your application approved, you will have to submit supporting documents and go to a visa application centre in person to have your fingerprints and photo taken for your biometric residence permit.
All the documents mentioned must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation.
To get your UK Innovator Founder visa, you will have to pay an application fee upon submission of the application, and the healthcare surcharge. The sum you pay before application depends on whether you apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa from within or outside the UK:
The immigration healthcare surcharge depends on how long you are going to stay in the UK and the number of dependants: you will have to pay £624 per person per year.
To calculate precisely how much you will have to pay to apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa, get in touch with Imperial & Legal’s immigration advisors. Reliable legal assistance in this process is crucial because if your visa is refused, you will not get your money back.
First of all, you need to get an endorsement of your business idea which usually takes from two to three weeks. Then, once you receive your endorsement letter and fulfil other requirements of the Home Office, to get your UK Innovator Founder visa, you will have to wait:
You can pay for the priority (collection within five working days) or super priority (next-day collection) visa service if the standard processing time does not work for you for some reason. If you apply for a UK Innovator Founder visa from within the UK, you will have to pay £500 for the priority service and £800 for the super priority service. The cost and availability of the services outside the UK depend on the country you apply from and whether there are visa centres in that country.
A UK Innovator Founder visa gives you the right to stay in the UK, run a business, and be employed as a skilled worker (occupation from the Skilled Worker eligible occupation list or requiring at least a level 3 qualification) for up to three years. If for any reason, your endorsement letter has been withdrawn, you must get an endorsement letter from another approved body or leave the UK.
If three years later you still meet all the requirements, you can apply to extend your stay for another three years. Your dependants must apply for their residence permit extension together with you.
There is no limit on the number of times you can extend your UK Innovator Founder visa, but the majority of foreign nationals prefer to apply for ILR as soon as they are eligible to do so. If your business shows an outstanding growth rate, you will have the right to apply for ILR once you have been in the UK for three years.
You can apply for ILR three years after the first entry on a UK Innovator Founder visa. Your application will have to be supported by your endorsing body. A foreign entrepreneur must submit a report to an endorsing body showcasing the development of their company after 12 and 24 months of the company’s being operational. If the Innovator Founder’s business meets two out of seven criteria, the approved body will issue an endorsement letter giving them the right to apply for ILR.
Your spouse, children under 18, and even children over 18, provided they came of age while staying in the UK, can apply for ILR with you.
Your family members and you can apply for UK citizenship in 12 months after ILR is granted provided you have stayed in the UK for at least five years. It usually takes 4–6 weeks to get a decision on your application. All the applicants must meet the following criteria:
Our immigration advisors have been successfully helping future British entrepreneurs for years. Legal support from Imperial & Legal will save you time and money, and our experienced immigration advisors will do their best to make sure you get your UK Innovator Founder visa. With Imperial & Legal, you are only four simple steps away from your UK Innovator Founder visa.
Why do I need a business plan?
A business plan is one of the fundamental requirements for this visa category. Besides, a business plan would be your main argument in favour of endorsement.
To make an unbiased decision for every application, the Home Office uses the point-based immigration system. To get a UK Innovator Founder visa, you will need to score 70 points. The criteria depend on your business plan and immigration status and are as follows.
You have a business plan
Your business idea is innovative, viable and scalable
You have invested or are going to invest £50,000 in the business
Knowledge of the English language at Level B2 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
Enough funds to support yourself and your family
An applicant stays in the UK on a UK Innovator Founder visa or a closed UK Start-up visa, UK Innovator visa, or UK Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa, and their business is endorsed by an endorsing body
The business is developing successfully, and the results exceed those declared in the business plan
An applicant takes an active part in the day-to-day management and development of the business
As has been mentioned, only your immediate family can apply for ILR together with you:
In addition to the £1,270 for the main applicant, you must have:
So, to relocate to the UK on a UK Innovator Founder visa, a family of two adults and two children will need £1,270 + £285 + £315 + £200 = £2,070 in their bank account.
We have been helping entrepreneurs worldwide to obtain business visas to the UK. Contact us to start your visa application today.
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